It sounds a little absurd, but the future of device charging is upon us. Imagine a world where your iPhone, iPad, MacBook, vacuum and other power hungry devices that run on battery could charge wirelessly, without needing to be plugged into a wall outlet.
WiTricity Corporation is already selling technology that handles wireless energy transfers, and they’re working to license the technology to handset and mobile technology companies. The system, which relies on a magnetic coil system, will turn wireless charging into a “built-in function of smartphones and other devices.”
From The New York Times:
[quote]The technology is based on magnetic induction — the process used to recharge electric toothbrushes. In the toothbrush, the base has a magnetic coil that generates a magnetic field. A second coil in the toothbrush captures some of that field, inducing an electric current. But electric toothbrushes transfer power only from the primary coil to the secondary one at very close range. Move the brush a short distance from the base, and it won’t charge. WiTricity extends the range of induction, wirelessly charging objects that are three or four feet away — sometimes farther — from the primary source of electricity.[/quote]
Most magnetic induction recharging stations require a user to place a phone or device directly on a charging station and line up the magnets from both the mobile device and the base station. WiTricity’s technology eliminates that problem, making the technology a lot more useful for consumers.
Having spent some time with these wireless charging stations in the past, I can honestly say that the current offerings were more of a pain to use than they were worth. Being able to charge your phone from a distance is going to transform magnetic inductive charge from a novelty to a practical charging alternative.